A Rivalry Bigger Than the Game

A Rivalry Bigger Than the Game

Joshua Koch writes about how the rivalry between Tech and Texas goes deeper than just the game itself.

November 1, 2008.

Any Texas Tech fan, or college football fan for that fact, remembers where they were when Graham Harrell hooked up with Michael Crabtree for the game-winning touchdown against then-No. 1 Texas, catapulting the Red Raiders and the Tech versus Texas game into the national spotlight.

 "I think that goes back to that '08 game, what happened there," Texas offensive guard and former Frenship Tiger, Mason Walters said about the Tech versus Texas rivalry. "Anytime you're playing Tech, you have to be ready to go all four quarters and every second of that because the game is not over until it's over. They always have an explosive offense, make plays. They play emotionally. It's going to be a tough, physical game."

But ever since the 2008 upset in Lubbock it has been all Longhorns, Texas winning the last three meetings improving its all-time record against Tech to 45-15.

Despite the upset and the overall record, there are more factors that go into the "rivalry" aspect of the Texas versus Texas Tech game and for Red Raider gunslinger Seth Doege, there is no bigger game than the one against Texas.

"I don't think so. Not for me personally, just because I'm from Texas," Doege said. "And I think it's a good thing that we have this Lone Star Pride Under Armour thing going on, because sometimes people forget there are other schools in Texas besides the University of Texas."

For Doege there is also the fact that he has a former teammate, Walters, who plays for the Longhorns and the senior said during the regular season they talk on a regular basis because they are still close friends, but in a week like this the amount of talking goes down.

"Every time he comes into town, I try to meet up with him," he said. "I don't think we can talk as much this week, but we're still friends. We're still buddies. I wish him the best. He's a great player. During this week we're not that close of friends this week."

Then for some players it is more than just a pride factor or having former teammates on the opposing team, which goes into this game being special to them.

For highly recruited Texas running back Johnathan Gray, who will start against the Red Raiders on Saturday, he has family ties to the rivalry between Tech and Texas.

Gray's father, James, was an All-American running back at Tech from 1986-1989 and ended up being drafted by the New England Patriots.

"It's very cool. My mom and dad went to Tech. It's just fun," Gray said. "I'm going to Texas, they went to Tech. It's kind of a rivalry in the house. They talk smack. I just be quiet and wait till the results after the game."

Then when you put the pride, family ties, and the record aside there is one more thing that factors into more emphasis being put on this game than others – being from the hometown of the opposing team, in this case Austin.

 "I'm from Austin. It's huge for me," D.J. Johnson said. "We haven't beaten them since I've been here. I take this a little personal. So we just have to go out there and continue to play. I'm going to continue to do my job as a senior leader and player on this team to make sure that I'm assignment sound, and I'm keeping us motivated and being inspirational in every way that I can."

So after everything is added up and taken into consideration, the rivalry between Texas Tech and Texas goes a lot deeper than just the upset in 2008, or the overall record, because every player has a special reason for this game to have a special place in their heart.

"It's just one of those games that always will be a rival," Doege said. "And I think for the guys that have been around for a while, especially the seniors, know that we took care of them our freshman year. Ever since then, they've kind of handled us. So it was our last chance to ever get that win, and get that bad taste out of our mouth ever since our freshman year."

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